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ASU to host Yellow Ribbon Task Force meeting to discuss
August 11, 2009 --
Arkansas State University will serve as host for the August 2009 meeting
of the Yellow Ribbon Task Force. The Yellow Ribbon Task Force was
appointed by Governor Mike Beebe approximately one year ago to focus on
addressing issues faced by Arkansas veterans returning from deployment
overseas and aging veterans with increasing health needs. The meeting is
scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m. in the Spring River Room in
the Student Union on the third floor.
A noon luncheon will be held in the Centennial Hall, also on the third
floor of the Student Union. Several special guests will be present
Members of the 875th Arkansas National Guard leadership team that are
currently making preparations for possible deployment to Afghanistan
later this year,
David Farnsworth, Director the Arkansas Wounded Warrior Program,
Participants of the Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Helms, ASU ROTC program and his cadre,
Conrad Reynolds (COL USA, Ret.) who will present a special U.S. flag
flown over his post in Iraq last year to hang in the Beck PRIDE Center
Nicole Hart with Governor Mike Beebe’s staff who will present an
Arkansas flag to ASU for the Beck PRIDE Center.
One of the topics scheduled for discussion is the Federal Tuition
Assistance supplemental benefit program.
“Hosting the Governor’s Yellow Ribbon Task Force is a outstanding
opportunity to showcase ASU-Jonesboro as a progressive and “military
friendly” higher education institution; as well as garner recognition
that our university is a statewide leader in ‘best practices’ of
providing educational opportunities for student-veterans,” said Susan
Tonymon. “ASU- Jonesboro is number one in the state regarding Federal
Tuition Assistance funds paid for Arkansas Army National Guard
Personnel, as reported by the Arkansas Adjutant General’s office.”
Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) is a supplemental benefit to Arkansas
National Guard (ANG) personnel paid in addition to the Montgomery GI
Bill and the Guard Tuition Incentive Program funds. For the Arkansas
National Guard fiscal year 2008, ASU-Jonesboro, ranked first in the
state, received approximately $320,800 or 17 percent of the total amount
of FTA funds paid to the state’s public institutions.
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe appointed 20 members to the Arkansas force
in July 2008, including Tonymon. In addition, she was selected to serve
on Healthcare/Disabilities and Public/Private Partnerships and Community
Resources committees. Chancellor Robert L. Potts accepted an appointment
from Governor Beebe as an ex-officio member of the task force.
“We are delighted to host the Yellow Ribbon Task Force for its monthly
meeting,” stated Chancellor Potts. “ASU, through its vigorous support
of Army ROTC and the Arkansas National Guard for many years, and now
also with the Beck PRIDE Center in the College of Nursing and Health
Professions, has been a service-friendly campus dedicated to supporting
the brave men and women who serve in our nation’s armed forces.
“We want to help veterans as they return to civilian life and seek to
further their education and seek employment. Members of the Task Force,
appointed by Governor Mike Beebe, have been working hard to help provide
a brighter future for returning veterans.
Governor Beebe’s office has worked with Congressman John Boozman’s
office in developing the Arkansas Yellow Ribbon Task Force to coordinate
services and outreach groups to assist Arkansas military personnel.
Representatives from Arkansas state agencies and higher-education
institutions are also working with the task force.
The members of the Arkansas Yellow Ribbon Task Force are, in addition to
Susan Tonyman and Chancellor Robert Potts from ASU: Judge and former
state senator David Bisbee, Robert Burns, Rep. David Cook, Rep. Bobby
Pierce and Rep. Randy Stewart; G. David Gearhart, ex-officio and Dr.
Josette Cline, ex-officio, from University of Arkansas Fayetteville;
Major General Don Morrow executive director of the Employer Support of
the Guard and Reserve; Dr. Becky Paneitz, of Northwest Arkansas
Community College, ex-officio; Col. Winford Phillips, ex-officio; Dr.
Jim Purcell, Executive Director of the Arkansas Department of Higher
Education, ex-officio; Cheryl Rawls director of Veterans Administration
Regional Office; Andrea Rockefeller-Hobbs with Operation Homefront,
John Selig, ex-officio; Mac Dodson, ex-officio; Paige Smith of Fort
Smith Family Readiness Group; Chris Sultemeier of Wal-Mart Corporate
Offices; Artee Williams, ex-officio; and Michael Winn, chief executive
officer of the Central Arkansas Veterans Health System; Dr. Paul
Halverson, ex-officio, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health;
Janet Huckabee, former First Lady and program manager with the American
Red Cross; Dr. Kenneth James, ex-officio, Arkansas Commissioner of
Education; Mr. Theotis King McAlmont, Church
of Christ, veteran; Dr. Joann Kirchner, University of Arkansas
Medical Sciences Psychiatric Institute and Col. Nathaniel McGee.